This might not come as a surprise to La Cañada Flintridge residents, but the city’s public schools get good marks — and quantifiably so, according to a recent ranking by the data website Niche.com.
In its most recent poll, released late last year, the site that “helps you discover the schools and neighborhoods that are right for you,” deemed La Cañada Unified School District’s elementary schools the best public options in the Los Angeles area.
Palm Crest Elementary School ranked first, Paradise Canyon Elementary second and La Cañada Elementary seventh. That’s out of 2,162 public elementary schools, according to Niche’s marketing outreach coordinator, Jess Hair.
“Both as the principal of Palm Crest and as a parent of two children who attend La Cañada schools, it’s no secret to me that our schools are truly exceptional,” PCR’s Karen Hurley said in an email. “Still, it’s gratifying for our efforts to be recognized by an organization that analyzes thousands of schools nationwide. This ranking confirms that we are on the right track.”
Out of 5,575 schools ranked statewide, PCR came in 16th and PCY was 17th — the highest of any public elementary schools in Southern California. The top 15 schools identified on the list are located around the Bay Area (the top 12 are either in Stanford or Palo Alto.) LCE checked in at 22nd.
Among districts in the state, Niche ranked LCUSD 14th. (La Cañada High School is ranked 22nd in the L.A. area and 58th in the state.)
To come up with these lists, Niche analyzes dozens of public data sets, including statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and its own survey data. It tallies its scores by weighing grades for “academics,” including state assessments (50%); “district overall” marks based on analysis of academic and student life data (20%); “teachers,” including salaries and absenteeism (20%); and “culture and diversity,” or racial and economic diversity (10%).
According to Hair, the website — which is the digital version of what was formerly the “College Prowler,” a company that began producing physical guidebooks about colleges in 2002 — garners about 4 million visits per month. Niche introduced K-12 rankings three years ago, she said, and has seen a positive response.
“We see a lot of schools evangelizing our rankings,” she said.
Niche also gives out national grades, ranking 48,625 schools: PCR was 314th; PCY 325th and LCE 384th.
The site also gauges private schools. Flintridge Prep was No. 3 regionally, 24th statewide and 81st nationally; Flintridge Sacred Heart was 33rd in the area, 79th in the state and 491st in the nation; and St. Francis was 47th, 50th and 795th.